Scars of housing crisis still haunts American homeowners

Jun 12, 2015, 5:39 AM | Updated: 5:39 am
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As the housing market bounces back from the foreclosure crisis of seven years ago, it’s taking Americans a little longer to catch up with the improving outlook.

A new survey by the MacArthur Foundation showed many Americans — more than 40 percent — still believe the country is in the midst of the crisis and another 20 percent believe we have yet to see the worst of it.

That pessimism, according to the survey, causes Americans to ignore the more encouraging facts about the housing market, which, by and large, has seen great gains in recent years.

Owning a home has become more affordable, according to a report from the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity. And home prices, although still below peak values in many markets, have been on the rise for a few years now.

The improvements, however, are not enough for homeowners still reeling from credit crashes and sunken savings caused by foreclosures and short sales during the recession.

According to the MacArthur Foundation, more than half of the 1,401 adults polled reported having had to make at least one sacrifice or tradeoff in the past three years to cover their rent or mortgage.

Twenty-one percent said they had to get an additional job or work more, 17 percent said they stopped saving for retirement and 14 percent reported having accumulated credit card debt.

Americans are also skeptical about social mobility. Almost 80 percent said it was much more likely for “middle-class people (to fall) into a lower economic class” than for “people in lower economic classes (to rise) into the middle class.”

The outlook may seem dim for some, but researchers of the study found that people, overall, are optimistic about the housing situation than they were last year.

In a similar survey conducted in 2014, 70 percent of those polled believed the country was still in the middle of a housing crisis, compared to the 61 percent who felt the same way this year.

Join Realtor Diane Brennan for That Real Estate Show Sundays at 8 a.m. on KTAR News 92.3 FM.

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Scars of housing crisis still haunts American homeowners